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from political pressure to brut force, libya's moammar gadhafi under the gun now more than ever, but will the dictator from the desert answer president obama's call to leave power? we'll bring you that next on "msnbc sunday." also ahead, the power of the protests here in the states and why demonstrators in wisconsin are facing a deadline that's just hours away. plus, charlie sheen's show and tell. now he wants to prove he's unleashed his radio rep jobs with a sound mind. and it's a testament to winter weather. there's snow in san diego. can you believe that, san diego? hi, everybody, i'm thomas roberts in today for alex witt, and welcome to "msnbc sunday." i appreciate your time. 9:00 here in the east, 6:00 out west. we get straight to what's happening right now. fast-moving developments in libya this morning. antigovernment protesters say they're taking steps to form an alternative government.
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a member of the city council of benghazi says the libyan cities currently under the control of rebels have selected an ex-justice minister to lead a provisional government. also this morning, rebels say they now have control of the city closest to the capital of tripoli. nbc's stephanie gosk is in benghazi, libya, with the very latest for us. stephanie, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, thomas. the former libyan justice minister who resigned in protest over the violence is now here in benghazi putting together an interim government. the libyan envoy to the u.s. says that will be the only legitimate government in this country until gadhafi resigns. this is the city where this uprising in libya began. nbc news obtained this video of the definitive battle in the fight to control the city. rebel forces stormed the military base here. they eventually overtook it and looted all of the weapons. now, opposition forces here are watching similar battles anxiously around the country. they say that they have won new-found rights here and they are not willing to give them up.
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overnight, the u.n. also passed new sanctions on libya, but they are more symbolic of gadhafi's isolation than anything else. the hague will be investigating possible war crimes. there is a weapons export ban which will have very little immediate effect because there are already plenty of weapons on the ground here. there is also a travel ban for libyan leaders, but gadhafi and his inner circle have already said they have no interest in traveling. the one sanction that could potentially hurt them is the freezing of their assets. the libyan government has untold billions of dollars scattered in banks around the world. thomas? >> stephanie gosk in libya for us. as stephanie mentioned, the u.n. security council voted unanimously yesterday for sanctions against gadhafi's regime, and now president obama is calling for him to leave the country. here's american ambassador susan rice. >> this is a clear warning to the libyan government that it must stop the killing.
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those who slaughter civilians will be held personally accountable. the international community will not tolerate violence of any sort against the libyan people by their government or security forces. >> let's bring in msnbc news white house correspondent mike viqueira. mike, is this a shift in tactics from the administration we're seeing now? >> reporter: well, it's certainly a shift in rhetoric. you'll remember that the administration was under mounting criticism as that libyan uprising wore on. a lot of people think they weren't doing enough, they certainly weren't saying enough, the president not even mentioning gadhafi by name, but there was a reason for that. the thinking here at the white house was that if you call out gadhafi by name, if you place the united states, you insert yourself in the middle of this uprising, then you give gadhafi a convenient excuse, pointing the united states as orchestrating and pulling the strings behind this uprising. then friday, when that plane carrying americans evacuating from libya was wheels up, the united states started to announce the moves that they
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were going to make. friday night they announced sanctions, freezing the assets of moammar gadhafi and his family. yesterday for the first time, the president calling gadhafi to step down. here's part of a statement the white house put out after the president had a phone call with angela merkel, the german chancellor. the president telling merkel, "the president stated that when a leader's only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now." hillary clinton, the secretary of state, of course, put out a virtually identically worded statement just minutes after the president, the white house put out that statement. clinton on her way to europe. she meets tomorrow at a security conference there to talk about the situation in libya. meanwhile, the u.n. secretary-general, ban ki-moon, the south korean, will be here at the white house tomorrow to talk to the president on the heels of that u.n. security council resolution, thomas. very unusual, a unanimous decision there, 15-0, including
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russia and china. sometimes they are out when it comes to these sanctions. the sanctions include a travel ban for top officials, including the family, freezing their assets. internationally, in addition to what they've done in the white house and assets in u.s. institutions, and they've referred to gadhafi's actions, the government's actions in libya to the international criminal court for possible investigation and trial for crimes against humanity, thomas. >> mike, who is aligning themselves with moammar gadhafi, wanting to see him stay? >> reporter: well, there's nobody wanting to see him stay at this point, but you know, traditionally, when you're talking about sanctions, even against the most rogue regimes, the most outlawed regimes around the world, some nations, particularly russia and china, in the past, have sort of felt this is not the right way to go. so, it's significant, that security council vote, 15-0, was unanimous
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unanimous last night. >> mike viqueira at the white house, thank you. in oman, a police station and government building in the city of suhar were reportedly on fire after police clashed with more than 2,000 protesters demanding reform. we'll bring you more details on this developing story as soon as we get them. back here at home, the protests in wisconsin drew their largest crowds yet this weekend. more than 70,000 people came together in madison to voice their objection to the state's governor. he's leading an effort to take most collective bargaining rights away from nearly all public workers. some protesters have been camped out in the capitol building for days, but they've been ordered to vacate by 4:00 p.m. today. still, the protests show no sign of slowing down, and many people hope the energy will carry through to the very next election. >> hey, you know what? if you never voted before, i bet you will now. >> protesters turned out nationwide to support the demonstrations there in madison. in boston's beacon hill, hundreds gathered in solidarity with the wisconsin crowds.
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in philadelphia, protesters gathered at love park carrying signs supporting unions in wisconsin, also in their home state. a toxic scare in washington state where a hazmat crew is at the site of a freight train derailment on the banks of the puget sound. 14 cars derailed. most were empty, but four contained a hazardous chemical. one of the cars leaked about 10 to 20 gallons of this substance, and crews are working to seal it. good news, though, no one was injured. rain, snow, ice and hail. you would think we're talking about the east coast, but no, it's the west coast in the clutches of a nasty winter cold snap. snowy evidence easily seen on the roads in san diego! and on the streets of l.a., getting hit with hailstones. so, what's taking place out west? the weather channel's alex wallace joins me live with more on this really wild winter. not expected for those out west, but they're getting it anyway. >> yeah, absolutely indeed. you know, we've got to share the wealth. the east has been dealing with it all winter, now the west.
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it's this system now beginning to pull out of the central portions of the four corners and head east. that's going to be a problem for the central plains and the rest of the east coast as we head on in to early next week. right now, the east coast is dealing with some snow showers here, mainly in new england, right around the boston area, seeing some of those snow showers starting to decrease. so, we're going to be ending that as we head through the afternoon hours here and dry out and enjoy a quieter time. but as we flip on back towards the west coast, this is, again, our system that we're going to be watching here. doesn't look a whole -- doesn't look that very strong right now, but what's going to happen is, as the energy from that system works its way into the middle of the country, it's going to spawn another storm system here for us, and this one's going to produce some potential strong to severe storms, starting out in the plains and then heading off towards the east as we head on through the rest of our afternoon and into the evening. heavy rain will be a threat out there for us throughout the midwest, into sections of the great lakes. the threat for strong storms continuing, back through the lower mississippi valley. then as we get into monday, in the afternoon hours, pressing its way into places like atlanta, through the carolinas,
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even into the mid-atlantic as well. so, our threat zone here for us for our day with the strong storms. you can see a large area here shaded in the red. the lighter shade, that's for the afternoon. once we get into that darker shade, the severe threat, that's for overnight. shreveport, back towards jackson, the memphis area. some of those threats, winds, damaging winds, hail and even tornadoes. thomas? >> alex, thanks so much. all right, we'll stay on the west coast, because actor charlie sheen is at it again. just ahead of a new network interview, the troubled star is taking a public drug test this weekend. let's get the details now from dawn yanek, editor at large for "life & style weekly." as we were talking about with alex there, it's snowing in l.a., so now we'll go to charlie, of course. >> yes, other crazy things. >> other crazy things that are happening. what is this drug test about? he's been talking about wanting to take a drug test. >> right. >> talking about, for his producers, i'll do the first one, i'll take another one, and then you have to drink it if it's clean, stuff like that, stuff he's saying.
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>> that's a great challenge, of course. he's been insisting he is clean and sober and wants to prove this to nay sayers. so, he apparently sat down with an editor and two producers from radaronline and took a drug test at home. reportedly, this preliminary test came back negative for seven illicit drugs, for five prescription drugs, and there is going to be further urine and blood tests, i believe, that will be back in the next 24 to 48 hours to say whether or not he truly is clean and sober. but right now, it looks like he is. >> he's been doing a lot of radio interviews. >> yes. >> calling into a lot of different programs where he's been saying some interesting things, really taking a hard line on the fact that he is clean, but now he's doing a new network interview. so, what can we expect him to say out of that that we really haven't heard already? >> yeah, well, you never really know what charlie sheen is going to say, which is of course why everybody will be tuning in. i think we'll be hearing a little bit more of the same, of course, condemning cbs and the "two and a half men" head honchos. we might be hearing more of his
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colorful perspectives on life and his lifestyle. he's been pretty unabashed about his partying, the fact that he spends time with porn stars. and of course, he has a bunch of young children. so, i think we're going to be hearing a bit more about that. and again, charlie sheen, people are going to be tuning in to these interviews. apparently, it's going to air on "20/20" and "gma" will have excerpts of it on monday and tuesday. >> why do you think he's still palatable to the american public, coming off this juggernaut of a show that makes over $100 million, i believe, for cbs, it's been successful all these years, and he's been really public about everything that he's gone through in his life. why do you think that he's still a bankable tv star? >> i think it's because he really has no qualms about talking about all of these things. i mean, they call him teflon charlie. he's earned that nickname because nothing sticks to him. we've documented this a lot at "life & style weekly." he's been through the porn stars and the prostitute scandals and the drugs and all these incidents, even accidentally shot his ex-girlfriend back in
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the '90s. but he plays pretty much charlie on "two and a half men," and i think that's why it's so palatable to the public. that said, i think he's getting into really dangerous territory right about now because he makes over $1 million per episode for "two and a half men," so, he'll be seen as sort of an ungrateful guy going forward. >> he gives the writers of that show a lot of real-life stuff. >> he does. >> life imitating art, art imitating life, however it goes. dawn, good to see you. thank you so much. >> thank you. countdown to the royal wedding, how kate middleton is handling the intense public spotlight. we'll talk to martin bashir about that one. also coming up, coping with higher gas prices. surefire ways to get the most mileage out of your next fill-up. and breaking away. the hotspot destinations. look at that. for spring vacationers. stay with me. i'll tell you where you need to go. you're watching "msnbc sunday." . and here's what we did today in homes all across america: we created the electricity that powered the alarm clocks and brewed the coffee. we heated the bathwater
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hi, everybody, welcome back. prince william and kate middleton are capping off a wild week with their first official public event since their engagement, and as the wedding quickly approaches, there are already signs that the soon-to-be newlyweds are breathing new life into the royal family. here with some insight is martin bashir, whose new show premieres tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. eastern, noon pacific time right here on msnbc. martin, great to see you. >> it's great to see you, thomas. you seem to work on msnbc every single day of the week and every hour. >> i'm afraid that my i.d. badge won't work if i leave, so i like to stay here as often as i can. >> it's great to be here. >> i sleep under the desk. >> i know. >> all right, so, prince william and kate, they looked really composed, very comfortable as they ventured out this week, really taking on a lot of intense, you know, a lot of intense, i guess scrutiny, as they do venture out on this.
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how do you think they've handled it so far? >> i think when you look at those two, you realize that the royal family have learned the bitter lessons of diana's engagement and marriage. if you remember, in 1981, diana gets engaged to the prince of wales and then goes back to her flat in kensington and goes back to working in a nursery, and every single moment of her life, from that moment, was corralled and overwhelmed by the media, by the paparazzi. there are 11 national newspapers in england. can you imagine? every single one has one or two royal correspondents. >> right. >> they followed her relentlessly. when kate and william announced their engagement, they simply disappeared. they went off to their west north wales cottage where he's based, and no one saw her. in fact, i read one story in a london paper that said they thought she had gone overseas. such was her invisiblity. and i think they've learned that they can't simply throw someone into this melee and not give them the kind of support and protections that they need. and so, what you saw this week
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was incredible. i spoke to one of the academic professors at st. andrews yesterday, and i said, did you see them? and he said i did, and he said he was taken aback by their composure, by how prepared and rehearsed they were. when i interviewed diana in 1995, she said to me, "it felt like i was thrown to the wolves, i was a lamb to the slaughter." >> right. >> no one had sat down and prepared me for anything like the kind of attention that i had. well, what you can see is the royal family have learned from that, and that is not going to happen with kate middleton. >> as a real hands-on mom, diana was, what do you think she would think of william's choice in kate? do you think she'd like her? >> i think she probably would. i mean, when you look at kate, she's beautiful, she's natural. i think also, she's the beneficiary of life experience, because she went to the same university as william. diana never went to college. she was married at 19. so, i think she'd be pleased about the commonality of experience. the other thing that i think
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kate has which diana never had was a stable family background. diana's parents divorced when she was about 8 years old. she was sent to a boarding school. she suffered terrible bouts of bulimia and anorexia nervousa during her adolescent years. kate's parents have been married for almost 30 years. they are, to all intents and purposes, very happy, very loving and very stable. and that, i think, plays into kate's experience. she's going into a situation that you and i would find very, very hard to imagine. >> yeah, she has a different foundation for all of this. as we watch what's taking place now, as she's attending these events, do you think that this gives her the proper sense of what's to come, kind of the slow rollout, so to speak, of what life is going to be like after april? >> nothing prepares you for that. the moniker of the united kingdom is the head of the commonwealth. that's 54 nations. that's in addition to the united kingdom. the public responsibilities that weigh upon you are immense --
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civic duties. then you've got the media, the press. i mean, there's a story in one of the national papers in britain that kate middleton's teeth have already had to be improved because of the scrutiny that's about to come. you laugh at that, but that's the kind of pressure. so, what you have is an individual who's got external pressure in terms of responsibilities, but also internal pressure, because what do you think of yourself? how do you behave in an environment where every single thing you do -- i mean, imagine if there was a camera on you 24 hours a day, thomas. but can you imagine no privacy, no moments of indiscretion? of which i'm sure you're capable of many, as i am. it's very, very tough. >> i'm sure you're going to be talking a lot about this on the show coming up starting tomorrow. >> well, you know, i'm hoping we're going to do some other things as well, and it's going to be serious, but yeah. i mean, yeah, we're going to cover this. you know, as i said, the problem is that you've been on every single hour virtually every day
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on msnbc that they had to give some people a chance. so they said -- hey, because you're going to 11:00. >> right, yeah. >> so, you're going to be here weekends. give me a break, i'm getting an hour. >> i'm here all the time. so tomorrow, when you kick off, which is very exciting, i know you're going to be talking about this, because obviously, you bring an insight into the royals that no one else has, which is fantastic. but for the hour, what can we expect? give us a little hint. >> well, i think we're going to be, obviously, looking at what's happening in the middle east. >> yeah. >> it's interesting, isn't it, that in your country -- i live here, but it's your country, i'm not a passport-holder or a citizen yet -- there's an amazing series of contradictions. on the one hand, everyone says president obama should get out of domestic affairs. big government's out. i don't want you meddling in my -- yet, at the same time, everyone says president obama should go to libya, go to egypt and tell them what to do and dictate the terms of those nations. it's an amazing contradiction.
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we'll try to teem some of that out in the show and try to understand why that is. i think the other thing about tomorrow and what we're going to try and do is spread the coverage slightly. so you know, news is serious, and you know, we know that. that's why we do this job. but there are also lots of things happening that are funny, that are about american life that i find hilarious, that i'm hoping we'll be able to talk about. >> well, we look forward to it. you have a fantastic team. >> i do? i think i have three people and an ep, and that's it. >> they're a fantastic team! we look forward to seeing you tomorrow at 3:00. >> it's great to join you, thomas. also, i want to say that you've been terrific. >> thanks. >> terrific about doing the hours and about, you know, working it wherever you're put. and i know that your show's going to be just as interesting, riveting and exciting. >> well, we're going to have you on. >> that's very kind. >> we'll have you on to promote your show. you and me, kid, we're going to take it to the end. >> this is not a good idea,
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thomas! >> it's good. it's a great idea. >> have you talked to the president of the network about this? >> not yet, no. i've got him on a blackberry. make sure you catch martin bashir's new show every weekday at 3:00 p.m. eastern beginning this monday. set your tivos, folks, right here on msnbc. stay with me. we're back after this. host: could switching to geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance? host: what, do you live under a rock? man: no way! man: hey rick check this out! anncr: geico. 15 minutes could save 15% or more on car insurance.
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predicting an increase of 0.2% in the current rate of 9%. more coming up here on "msnbc sunday." for those of us who have lactose intolerance, let's raise a glass to cookies just out of the oven. to the morning bowl of cereal.
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leave nothing to chance. travelers. insurance for auto and home. call or click now for an agent or quote. hi, everybody. welcome back to "msnbc sunday." i'm thomas roberts. alex has the day off. the mass exodus from libya is being slowed today by rough seas once again. two ferries holding nearly 500 foreigners are stuck in tripoli right now, this as uk and u.s. officials are evacuating citizens from libya by air. nbc's martin fletcher is live in malta for us. and martin, most of the americans who want to leave libya have already left by now, isn't that correct? >> reporter: yeah that seems to be the case, thomas. there was a story that 90 americans still have not left. the state department confirmed that, but most seem to have left. there was a flight last night by accidental petroleum. they left from tripoli with only
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one american aboard. so, that suggests that almost all of the americans who want to leave have left. there is another about 3,000 americans, duel nationality libyan americans, still in libya, but apparently show no signs of wanting to leave. mine whi meanwhile, the exodus of other nationalities is proceeding indeed. this cruise liner behind me just arrived 4 1/2 hours ago. it brought 2,000 workers from the oil fields and the construction industry in libya here to malta, five nationalitities -- brazilians, south koreans and filipinos and two other nationalities. i wasn't able to find out what the other two were. just down the dock a bit, there is another cruise liner that has about 2,000 chinese workers, also evacuated from libya. so, that's 4,000 here. another boat expected in malta tonight around about midnight local time with another 2,000. so, that's about 6,000 evacuated workers from libya passing just
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through malta. but as you mentioned, there was the two ferries still waiting in tripoli harbor because of bad weather. they're not able to move. but the real story from here has been the move last night by the british. they upped the stakes. they launched a military operation to hercul two hercule the british military landed in southern libya to collect workers who wanted to leave from there and left the country. that was a big deal because they entered libyan air space protected by fighter planes in case of any enemy action by the libyans. on the ground there were special forces of the british army who were keeping the area safe for the evacuees while they were boarding the plane. so, that was a military operation, considerable raising of the stakes here. now, the first military operation to take out workers, and we don't know whether there will be more such operations, thomas. >> and martin, if the rough seas do calm down, in reference to these other two ferries that are stuck, how quickly will they be able to evacuate over to malta? give us the distance.
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>> reporter: well, it's pretty quick. it's 200 miles from tripoli here to malta. it's normally between six to eight hours on the size ferry that they're going to be on. so, once they get going, they'll be able to get here pretty quickly. the main reason, by the way -- those ships can't sail because they're more afraid of the sea sickness of the people on board. so, they're waiting for the seas to calm down. >> martin fletcher in malta for us. martin, thank you. meanwhile, a bold step by the white house as president obama calls for libya's dictator to leave the country immediately. but for a man who's spent four decades in power, moammar gadhafi has no intention of going quickly or quietly. in fact, his deadly crackdown on protesters has just led to the u.n. to press into an investigation on possible crimes against humanity. eleanor clift is with "newsweek" and "the daily beast" and joins us now. you have covered moammar gadhafi for years now. so, give us all some insight into this man, especially as he is now digging in for dear life. >> well, i think he first came
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into national consciousness in this country when he was behind the bombing of a disco tech in berlin during the reagan years. it killed a lot of americans, and president reagan called gadhafi a "mad dog." and from then on, gadhafi looked like he was an aspiring des pit in the mold of saddam hussein. he was acquiring weapons of mass destruction. and then during the bush era, the george w. bush presidency, they managed to persuade him to give up his weapons of program and renounce terrorism. and of course, he was behind the bombing of the pan am airliner over lockerbie, which was a terrible tragedy. and so, he renounces his weapons program, he gives up terrorism, and he's -- while he hasn't been an ally for the last decade, he hasn't created any trouble internationally. i don't think his fingerprints
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are on any terrorist activity. and so, i think the u.s. had grown rather comfortable with him in power and certainly wouldn't have done anything to try to nudge him out of the way if this hadn't erupted on its own course among his own people in a country where he has ruled with such an iron fist, not letting any civil disturbance to develop. he doesn't even have a national army. he basically has a territorial guard that he doesn't even trust. so, seems to me, he'll probably go out the way he came in, via a military coup. >> well, his violence, as you say, well documented, the suggestions now being that he may be completely mentally unstable. so, how are u.s. officials responding to that? >> well, i think that's why president obama was so cautious about saying anything about libya in the initial days, because you are dealing with somebody who appears to be psychotic, and he has chemical weapons, and you just don't want to set off any of those trip
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wires. the potential for a hostage situation was really great. now, with most of the americans out of the country, the president's gotten a little more bolder with gadhafi really cracking down in a very brutal way on his own people, the world community now is speaking with one voice, and this is fascinating. martin fletcher's report that the british actually did stage a military intervention. so, that says to me there's a lot of discussion going on behind the scenes, and we may see more aggressive intervention on the part of the west. >> eleanor, the libyan people, they've been repressed for nearly half a century, widespread poverty, no infrastructure in this country. what happens if gadhafi does fall? >> well, that's the scary part, you know. sometimes the devil, you know, is better than this chaos. and the fear is that the eastern part of the country could just become ungovernable territory. it's a big land mass, the size of alaska. a lot of it is not particularly inhabitable. >> right.
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>> and it's the perfect setting for al qaeda, bad guys, and i think that's the fear. but they've set up a provisional government in the eastern part of the country, and you know, the colonial powers once ruled this area, the french, i think in the east, and the italians in the rest of the country. so, i think the europeans are really going to take the lead here, especially since they get -- they rely on libyan oil. >> right. >> and when you see bp and shell oil and the big corporations evacuating, you know that it's trouble. >> it's trouble. >> it's trouble for the u.s. economy as well as for, certainly, for the libyan people. >> eleanor clift with "newsweek." good to see you, thank you. >> right, thank you. protesters who have been camping out in wisconsin's capital have until 4:00 p.m. to gather their signs and sleeping bags and leave the building, ordered out by capitol police as the fight continues between wisconsin's government and public workers. on "meet the press" this morning, david gregory asked wisconsin governor scott walker why he's pushing to limit bargaining power for the unions when they've already agreed to contribute more to cover their
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pension and health costs. >> for us to balance the $3.6 billion deficit we have, but not only now, but to ensure we can continue to do that in the future so our kids don't inherit these same dire consequences, we've got to have assurances. and over the past two weeks, even after they made those promises, we've seen local union after local union rush to their school boards, their city councils, their technical school boards, and rush through contracts in the past two weeks that had no contribution to the pension and no contribution to health care. and in fact, the one case in jamesville, they actually were pushing through a pay increase. >> you can watch david gregory's entire interview with governor walker when "meet the press" reairs at 2:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. those revolutions that we've been talking about in the arab world are sending the price of oil soaring, and americans are feeling it here at the pump. the average price for a gallon of gas in the u.s. is up 2 cents today compared to yesterday, and it's up 18 cents in the past week. andrea warock is an expert and
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joins us in studio to talk about this. andrea, good to have you here. let's talk about the cost-saving measures, where you advise us to cut back on our gas. you say people can use their smartphones to save on gas and then also shopping online. so, explain to all of us, one, the smartphone. shopping online i kind of get, but the smartphone, teach me that. >> okay. there are various apps that were designed to help you save at the pump. gas bunny is one app that uses your location and provides you with a list of all the surrounding gas stations and the prices. so, it helps you find where can you find the least expensive option. cheap gas is another one that navigates you to the least expensive gas station on your route. so, it will help you find that one that's maybe a little bit off of the exit, but it will save you 10 or 20 cents per gallon. >> right, because i know i will go across the street to save a cent. it adds up! >> yeah. they're placed in various locations, and sometimes it's 5 cents cheaper across the street, like you said. >> all right. so, explain to us how we can also save when we are behind the wheel when it comes to our
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driving, especially, i have a huge foot -- >> a lead foot? >> sometimes, yes. >> well, speeds exceeding 40 miles per hour actually forces your car to overcome stronger wind resistance, so it burns fuel faster. so, watch your odometer, and if you're driving on the side streets, there's no need to go over 40 miles per hour. obviously, on the highway, a slower speed will burn your fuel at a slower rate. and also, don't slam on your gas pedal when you're at one stop sign just to get to the next one in a second, because you're going to be going through gas much faster that way. >> you also recommend that there are gas gift cards that people can give? >> right. you can actually find discounted gas gift cards online. at the website giftcardgranny, they will list out various discounted gift cards for you. those are going quick, though. so, you can sign up for an alert, which it will send you an e-mail when one becomes available, so you can jump right on it. >> this i was unfamiliar with -- you recommend people buying generic gas? >> right. >> so, explain the difference
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between generic and brand name. >> so, there's generic and brand name, just like when you're at the grocery store or drugstore. >> right. >> so, brand names shell, chevron and what not, they all use the same gas, but you could save up to 10 cents per gallon by going generic. maybe at a 7-eleven or one of those non brand name places. the name brand gas companies, they put detergents in the gas which will burn cleaner, but it still helps -- the generic gets you from point "a" to "b" and helps you save money. >> all right. so, when we're all looking at ways to save money, these are all things that we can do today. >> right. and we mentioned shopping online. carnegie mellon university's green institute found that people who shopped online consume 35% less gas. so, do all your shopping online. you can find free shipping codes online as well at to save that way as well. >> you never have to leave the house. >> no. >> thanks so much andrea, appreciate it. >> thank you. i think i can speak for all of us, we've had it with winter,
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it's being touted as a big game-changer for google. the internet search engine is switching gears on how it ranks websites. it's all part of an effort to battle online tricksters who are out to scam their way into a higher google ranking. joining me now is caroline mccarthy, a reporter for explain this, because hundreds of thousands of us, especially us in the biz, use google every day to research random facts. so, how is this switch going to help the average google user, google surfer, that is? >> well, something you might have noticed when you were googling any query, is that a lot of the results were dominated by relatively generic and low-quality results that just happen to be created by
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companies that really have a knack for understanding search engine optimization. those companies are often referred to as content farms. you click on them, you know, you get something that's remotely related to what you're looking for, but potentially isn't very helpful, might even be factually inaccurate, and is probably covered with ads so that the company that created the content can reap the benefits there. >> so, how is google tweaking things? i mean, for all of us, is it, i guess the concept, should we broaden the search or should we reduce the search words? >> one of the things google keeps very much under lock and key is how it handles its search algorithm, so there's a lot of very calculated tweaking going on there and a lot of that is absolutely not open to the public. >> then they've got the psychic i'm feeling lucky button, too. so they have to be thinking what you're thinking, exactly what you want, so that has to be right. >> absolutely. and i think google has something at stake here because these companies have figured out how to gain its algorithm and get higher rankings. if people find that google is
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less useful -- you know, google has a rival now in bing, the microsoft search engine, so they have something at stake here if its results are less helpful and polluted by spam and low-quality content. >> what's the bottom-line benefit for google making a change to its so-called search formula? >> well, i think what it's trying to do is it's trying to make its results more relevant to the users who are searching, because another threat that it faces is the fact that people may be going to their social networks to a question-and-answer site or to facebook to try and find answers to questions. google really wants to have a lock on information-seeking. and so -- >> especially when it comes to reputable sites, dollar signs. >> absolutely, and a more premium site will have more premium advertising. so, as a result, google absolutely wants to keep its results fresh and relevant. if there are people who figure out how it operates and it's tricking it, of course google doesn't want that. >> less consumer complaints. >> absolutely. >> thank you. people power and the
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presidency. how the wisconsin labor standoff could have a major impact on the 2012 election and beyond. stay with me. that's coming up next on "msnbc sunday." nah. we have something else. but if you're hurt and miss work does it pay cash like aflac does? nah. or let you spend it in any way you want like for gas and groceries? nah. or help with everyday bills like aflac does? nah nah nah. [ male announcer ] there's aflac and there's everything else. visit for an agent or quote. aflac! hey tough guy, that cold needs alka-seltzer plus! it has the cold-fighting power of an effervescent packed in a liquid-gel for all over relief! hiyah! dude! and more. if you replace 3 tablespoons of sugar a day with splenda® you'll save 100 calories a day. that could help you lose up to 10 pounds in a year.
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you know, it's not only the budget in play in wisconsin. the battle between the governor and unions may represent a new political dynamic with huge implications coming up for 2012. as nbc news political analyst howard fineman writes on the huffington post, "the underlying strategic wisconsin story is this. governor scott walker, a tea party-tinged republican, is the advance guard of a new gop push to dismantle public sector unions as an electoral force. reducing the union structure and membership will make it harder for democrats and their allies to communicate directly with workers." karen finney is an msnbc political analyst and former communications director for the dnc. robert trainholm is d.c. bureau chief for comcast network and
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host of "roll call tv." guys, great to see you today. karen, i want to begin with the financial part of this equation, so to speak. afscme, the nation's largest union, spent 87 million bucks in the midterm election. that was the biggest single source of independent funding, even more than karl rove's conservative group. so how significant would it be if the power of the unions was busted, dismantled? >> right. well, one thing i want to remind people, though, with afsme, we know where that money came from versus karl rove's funds, we don't exactly know where all those monies came from. so i think there's a big difference in the kind of money that we're talking about coming into the process -- >> well, i think we kind of know where karl rove's money came from. >> some big donors. >> yeah. >> the koch brothers, not the least of it. but there's no question that labor plays an important part in the democratic party. but you know, i have to say the more -- and i think this is part of what howard was trying to articulate. it doesn't make it clear that
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what walker is really about here is a political strategy, not a budget-balancing strategy. and i think ultimately that's part of what has been turning the tide against the republicans on this issue. that you know, there's a fundamental fairness issue that people just don't like. >> robert, let's go to the maps on this, though, because in the mid-terms republicans were hoping to win as many as 20 governorships from the democrats. they ended up taking 12, and that included an impressive sweep for rust belt states with heavy union influence. we've got ohio, michigan, pennsylvania, and wisconsin. so what does that mean for the ground game come 2012, sxleeshl when what's happening in wisconsin? >> i think it's a huge leg up for the republican party in 2012, in states like virginia, states like florida, states that president obama took in 2008, kind of swing back to the republican column, if you will. and here's why. when a republican or democrat governor controls a state house, they also control the party infrastructure, so to speak. they also have the leg up from a financial standpoint but also from a redistricting standpoint
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and also from a grassroots standpoint. so you know, when you take a look at the map, thomas, as you mentioned a few moments ago, president obama and the democrats have to take a look at the map and say you know what, we can win the presidency in 2012, there's no question about it, especially if it is sarah palin that we're running against. but it makes that climb much, much steeper. and that's what's making them really, really worried. and karen's right to a certain degree. this is about two things. first and foremost, let's not lose sight of this. it is about states all across the country that are really facing these huge deficits as far as the eye can see, but it also is about pushing back on the democratic party as relates to the force that the unions have played over the last 50 to 60 years. >> robert -- sorry. i was just going to say but the point that walker's trying to make is not that it's about pushing back on the democratic party but that he needs to do away with collective bargaining as a way to balance his budget. so what you're basically admitting is it's a political strategy, it's not about people. >> well, it is about people. let's take a look at indiana. two years ago mitch daniels did
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exactly what governor walker's trying to do right now, and guess what, not only did mitch daniels win in indiana but he also saved the taxpayers $100 million and on top of that the majority of indianans said you know what, governor daniels, thank you for doing this because we don't need the unions in terms of collective bargaining and we're also saving hundreds of millions of dollars. so it is about finances as well p. >> well, he just abandoned that, the most recent attempt to do that in indiana. but we'll let thomas -- >> i like watching you two. i just have a good time. i sit back, i fold my arms, drink some coffee. i like seeing you two go at it. karen, if it weren't for the senate democrats who fled wisconsin to avoid a vote, though, the unions would be losing the budget battle. so what is the biggest way for the unions to fight back ahead of 2012? because we have to look at this from wisconsin's perspective. those voters did put in walker. they voted in the republican that's now doing this to them. >> they did. but walker's been out there saying, you know, i campaigned on that i was going to make these tough budget cuts. and that's true.
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however, he did not say i'm going to go in and union bust, i'm going to go in and abuse my power and use it to take away rights. and i've got to tell you, i agree with ronald reagan on this, that unions are a fundamental part of human life. i think they're very important. so when you look at 2012 -- and i think republican governors are actually -- that's why you're seeing a lot of them back off a little bit this week. there's a real potential for an overreach. the unions have said we want to do our fair share in helping the budget but we just want to keep our collective bargaining rights. >> i want to read you something that republican governor hailey barbour said last fall about the political impact of the unions. saying, "we are never going to win moat of these states until we can do something about those unions. they have so much incentive to work hard politically because they are, in effect, electing their own bosses, the democrats who are going to pay them better and give them more benefits." robert, what's your response to
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that? >> well, he's right. look, as a son of a union worker, my father was a postal worker for 34 years, i understand the importance of unions, they have a right and they should also have a right in terms of being part of ow social fabric in this country. what they don't have a right to do is to dictate financial policy and put us into the red for generations to come. but to answer your question specifically -- let me finish, karen, know you're going to get all upbeat. but haley barbour has a really interesting point from a political standpoint that yes, for many, many years what the unions have systematically done is elect their bosses and control the political process in specific states, and that's got to stop. and also, what's also very interesting here is that the constituencies in states like pennsylvania and wisconsin and ohio and so forth, they're speaking up and saying no, enough is enough, and that's evidenced by the fact that they're electing republican governors -- >> we're up against the clock, i've got to say thanks to both of you and i will talk to you again soon. >> i love you. >> the red carpet's rolled out and the stars are ready to
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MSNBC News Live
MSNBC February 27, 2011 9:00am-10:00am EST

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